Then there was comic book character Bob Stookey (Lawrence Gilliard Jr.) who had a neat scene in the market (pre-zombie raining) that showed his past was riddled with alcohol. Unfortunately, I don’t read the comics, so I haven’t the slightest clue as to how this character will play out, but so far, I see no reason to dislike him other than the fact that he caused this episode’s big climax.
The only addition I didn’t like was the woman that Rick ran into when walking around the forest. Sure, she’s not technically an “addition” since she performs seppuku on herself towards the end, but I still could have done without the whole situation. It was a bit pointless.
I understand the whole point of this mini-story was to remind us of the moral codes and ethics in a zombie-infested planet wrought with daily oppression. Sounds heavy on paper, but it was ultimately redundant in practice. We’ve covered this before with Rick on numerous occasions. With all the speeches and conversations from Laurie (Rick needing to make hard choices) and Herschel (Rick needing to be a focused leader), you would think he’d know what kind of man or leader he is by now. Then again, what do I know about the daily struggles of z-slaying life.
Also, the whole Rick-doesn’t-want-to-use-a-gun ordeal didn’t even last 20 minutes, so that was completely meaningless. Hopefully he can get over his intrinsic obstacles soon or at least have more compelling moral quandaries. Something tells me though that we have a few more of these coming our way this season.
The new disease that seemed to have stemmed from the dead pig is probably my favorite part of the episode. I’m always a sucker for one threat piling on top of another, so seeing a different force threatening the group has me very excited, undoubtedly leading to new moral conflicts and human drama. I can also see it even superseding the zombies as the main threat, depending on the disease’s potency and fatality effectiveness.
I’m not entirely sure as to how Patrick obtained the virus, but I’m thinking it was Daryl’s spit-bound handshake with him after eating some infected pork. Daryl not being sick could debunk my theory, but it could also mean he’s immune. Hopefully we get some answers soon.
A few other things that I really liked about the episode include Carol (Melissa McBride) faking story time for the kids so she could instead teach some self-defense. It makes her more likable and way more meaningful to the group. Then there was the surprising reaction that Beth had to learning of Zach’s death. I was expecting some sort of cliché out-loud crying, but instead we saw her change a sign that kept count of accident-free days (the kind you’d see at stores in employee areas) from 30 to zero, almost flat-out coldly until she exclaims that she was just happy to know Zach at all.
With Rick’s stupid forest hike being my only major nagging point, I have to say that the season four premiere did not disappoint. It didn’t blow me away or excite me immensely, but it had enough additions to keep the episode flowing at a good pace. As a setup for a season, “30 Days Without An Accident” does a good job of throwing the alley-oop pass. Was the pass the sharpest and most accurate of The Walking Dead? No, and we’ll have to wait and see if Scott Gimple will be able to catch that pass and slam it home with authority, but it got the job done well enough while still establishing some solid momentum.